Packers Add Another Undrafted Athletic Star

Travis Manning

Earlier this week, the Green Bay Packers added another undrafted free agent to add to their roster just ahead of May organized team activities.  Cornerback Travis Manning of Northwest Missouri State, a Division II school, is the latest of a long line of undrafted rookies to join the Packers.  The narrative is old by now as far as the Packers are concerned.  Every season there seems to be one guy who comes out of nowhere and finds his way onto the team’s final roster.  Will Manning be that guy this year?

The Packers entered the draft thin at cornerback with Tramon Williams and Davon House having departed.  General manager Ted Thompson used his first two draft picks to add defensive backs to add some depth and push for a starting spot in training camp.  With veteran DB Jarrett Bush not likely to return, the Packers may have their eye on Manning as a possible special teams contributor, if he can earn a roster spot.

Manning starred in both football and track in college.  He has good athletic ability and it’s this pedigree that Thompson seems to have an affinity for.  Last year, he drafted cornerback Demetri Goodson, who also played Division I basketball at Gonzaga.  He signed long-time veteran Julius Peppers, who also starred in basketball for the North Carolina Tar Heels during his college days.

The trend of NFL teams trying to turn athletes into football players isn’t necessarily new.  The Packers have a long history of pulling from those players who don’t get drafted and giving them a better-than-average chance to make their team.  But Green Bay seems to be fully on board in terms of finding the skill set they think the team can utilize.

We have to be realistic in that right now, NFL teams are permitted 90 men on their roster.  Over 30 of those players will end up on other rosters, practice squads or out of the league altogether.  Manning may end up one of those statistics when the smoke clears, but in Green Bay, you just never know.

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Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.com

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  • Jeff

    I watched some video on this kid and he looks like the real deal, he is fast with great vertical leap and always seems to know where the ball is! If anyone has a shot this kid does.

  • Taryn Miller

    The only place I know of having equal number of possible explosions that offers birth of new stars as Green Bay is the very Heavens in which we hope they are derived. 🙂

    • I understand and like Taryn’s posts. To me she seems to have a knack for creative writing. 😉

  • GorillaNationUSA

    “You never, neva, neva know.”

    -Sol Rosenburg

    • Oppy

      Sue you, sue everybahdy… For punitive damages! My eyes are goin’ crazy!

      • GorillaNationUSA

        Barbara?

  • TedTomsin

    Yeah, I saw last night they signed this guy. Very interesting with his speed. TT has the DB’s and WR’s bursting at the seems with talent. I just read last night on JSOnline about yet another unknown WR named Adrian Coxson who TT pulled out of his magical hat. He’s being compared to Terrell Owens. The story on this guy and what he went thru with his dad dying of diabetes is unbelievable. Here’s the link. http://www.jsonline.com/sports/packers/undrafted-receiver-adrian-coxson-has-hands-of-faith-b99501978z1-304197711.html

    With guys like this Manning, Crocket, Dantzler, Coxson and numerous others I can’t remember offhand, this is going to be one exciting fight to see who wins roster spots. TT is so damn good at mining gems that he’s made everyone pay attention whenever he signs a street free agent. He’s almost made the post NFL draft street signings just as exciting. Sadly though scum bucket teams like MN just sit back, do nothing, and just scavenge off the Packer’s leftovers. I hate those SOB’s!!
    Ted

    • Nick Perry

      Completely agree Ted, this training camp is really going to be a interesting one. I read the piece on Coxson, he’s strong and fast and a real competitor. I was really surprised at the number of UDFA Wide Receivers the Packers signed this year, especially with Janis, Abby, and White all still here. (Never been a Miles White fan) Throw in Montgomery from the draft and Adams in his second year I believe this will be the Packers Best group of WR’s under TT and MM. Really pulling for Abby and Janis though, not really hearing anything about him (Abby) is a little concerning though.

      • TedTomsin

        Yep, I agree Nick. The wide receivers depth is insane. There’s going to be 3 or 4 guys let go (if they only keep 4 or 5) that will be capable of starting for other teams.
        I think Abby and now Janis is in big time trouble. Once they selected Montgomery, Janis’ job security got thrown out the window. He really has to step it up to survive. Mentally he probably wasn’t ready last year and Rodgers didn’t trust him. He better have his shit together or to MN he goes starting alongside Charles Johnson. Yeah, I hate the effin Vikings.

        I like this Coxson kid and the breakaway speed not to mention the confidence but like Janis, he’s from a small school and seems like he could struggle learning the playbook. I love these underdogs for some reason. Last year I rooted for Pennel and he made it. Should be exciting.
        Ted

  • Big T

    When will the master TT find an ILB that’s worth 2 cents?

    • TedTomsin

      Barrington, Bradford, Ryan, Thomas, Dantzler and Matthews. Absolutely loaded at middle linebacker Big T you just don’t realize it yet. Now I know when Ted said, “we’re fine at middle linebacker” to a reporter’s question about middle linebacker after the first round selections were over with. Yes, he said it and that was before he drafted Ryan. I would say those 5 guys mentioned have to be worth at least a dime. Much more than your 2 cents Big T.
      Ted

      • packett

        Hope is great. I hope you and the other TT are right. I’m not so optimistic. I am convinced the D has been underperforming mostly due to the weakness of ILB. With a 3-down ILB thumper, able to cover….all other positions are immediately upgraded. An ILB able to impose hesitation by short crossing WR and TEs creates a half second longer and Matthews/Daniels/Peppers/Jones and even Perry all close their hits. They are so often a split second shy of the sack.
        The key is to eliminate the ever-so-easy dump-off passes that opposing offenses find as escape from the good deep coverage, and the pretty decent pass rush.
        The imposing ILB makes all the difference!!
        So, I wished TT raised the urgency to fill that position with higher probability picks. Sure, Barrington, et.al. might not do an average or adequate job, but I would generally work the probability that rd. 1-2 grade picks are more LIKELY to yield an imposing ILB presence, and that this would make the greatest difference for the D over the next 2 years.

        • Big T

          Everyone and their brother knows what you say is true. From coaches to fans to commentators etc.. Absolutely everyone knows this. Why is blockhead TT in denial that he needs a freakin ILB. I have to assume he isn’t as big of a dumbazz as I think he is. Has to be an ego thing(I will show the world I don’t need no stinkin ILB). TT, I am here to tell you it hasn’t worked out so well the last 4 years. Suck it up, get your head out of your vagina and get an ILB. Our next super bowl depends on it.

          • TedTomsin

            “Suck it up, get your head out of your vagina and get an ILB”

            Ah Big T, you do realize we have a female that posts here right? The V word could be deemed as offensive or sexist. It doesn’t bother me but I’m just sayin’.
            Ted

          • TedTomsin

            “Why is blockhead TT in denial that he needs a freakin ILB”

            Big T, did you not watch the draft? I seem to recall Mr. Blockhead did draft an inside linebacker with a great pedigree I might add. Word has it he drafted him just to shut you and Archie up but apparently you were too focused on hating him to notice.
            Ted

        • TedTomsin

          Packett, we (the real Ted Thompson and I) are right. This whole “I’m not so optimistic” panic mode by you and others is totally unwarranted.
          How long have you known Ted Thompson Packett? 10? 15? years? We seem to go down this road every single year. New year, new position of need and new anxiety for anxiety ridden fans.
          You obviously have not got on board with the “In Ted I Trust” motto. The guy is constantly questioned for a decade and he’s always come thru. Two years ago we had no running back. Last year we had no safety. This season everyone is worried about inside linebacker.
          You need to trust Ted. Once you do, you can relax and enjoy life. If you don’t you will become Big T and Archie. You don’t want to be those guys do you?
          Ted

          • Archie

            You are in such denial it is laughable.

            • TedTomsin

              Archie, if this was 1975 and I was talking the way I do about our GM then yes, I would be in denial. The problem is it’s not 1975, it’s 2015 and as we speak we have the best damn football team in the NFL so excuse me if I don’t buy your shit you are trying to sell.

              The Packers will win the super bowl this season mark my words. They are taking no prisoners this season. The minute I saw MM wearing a effin beard was when I knew.

              He lost his brother and he’s pissed at that final 5 minutes in Seattle and isn’t holding back this season. He knows now life is short. Expect offensive records to be broken all over the place. MM is unleashing hell on the NFL

              I expect a formal apology from you and Big T after the Packers hoist the super bowl trophy next season.
              Ted

            • Nick Perry

              I don’t know Archie, I used to have a issue with TT at times and still wish he’d use Free Agency more than he does but with that said I really like this draft. After day 2 I remember I thought damn, take Malcom Brown 1st, Rollins 2nd, and Dawson 3rd and that would have been a better draft…. But maybe not. Had the Packers taken Brown we don’t know if Rollins is there at 62 or Dawson at 94, one changed pick can flip the whole board, we just don’t know. But for the sake of this lets assume it doesn’t change a thing.

              The Packers lose Williams and House in Free Agency and rightfully so, if Ted threw that kind of money at either he would have been blasted for that. The Packers need a ILB & CB and pretty much everybody agreed there wasn’t an ILB worth it at 30. So he takes Randell who I think (After a lot of research) is a pretty damn good pick. In the 2nd he takes Rollins, another solid pick. I admit, I scratched me head a minute thinking about that Run D but all in all I like the first 2 picks. Why?? Injury!! What happens if the Packers have a single injury on the corner? Or what happens if Hayward isn’t strong enough for the outside, now the Packers have options, depth, and best of all Versatility! The NFL has changed so much the last few years and the Packers have really set themselves up well. I also believe the Packers see Randell in the mold of Charles Woodson, I really do. Time will tell obviously and those are huge shoes but you never know.

              Pick 94 comes and Dawson is there for the taking, do the Packers want a guy that doesn’t prepare for the combine, hates to watch film, doesn’t much care for practice, and has a issue with Authority? I wouldn’t have taken him and I don’t care if he turns out to be the best ILB in the draft, (Well maybe a little) not if he’s going to be a problem.

              Montgomery will tilt the field position with almost every return. Didn’t you get tired of starting at the 16 yard line!!!! I really believe this kid will see the field at times other than KO and PR. He’s more than big enough to take to take the hand offs Cobb was getting into the teeth of a defense, I’d bet with better results. This way I’m not holding my breath until I see Cobb popping up after getting smashed by huge D-Linemen.

              In the 4th round I was watching for Ryan 10 picks out hoping he’s there for the Packers. I love this kid, watched him a lot this year. Look at his combine numbers, watch his tape, this is a versatile kid that can play inside and outside. He’s a football player, just like the Packers first 3 picks. I do agree with you about the Packers, as long as they stay healthy this is the most “Complete” football team in the NFL and are winning the SB this year!!!

      • BradHTX

        You forget to factor inflation into that last statement. The actual inflation-adjusted value of Big T’s rants is .003647 cents.

        • TedTomsin

          lol

      • shavager

        IF they were “fine” at ILB, Matthews would NOT be playing there to bail’em out. NO guarantee this ILB position is fixed, even with Jake Ryan–a rookie who was moved inside in his last college season. Just NOT convinced anybody steps up with Barrington to get Matthews back to his natural outside position at this point. Coulda’, woulda’, shoulda’–sounds like the same thing being said for last 4 seasons when Pack exits playoffs because of defense. This team wins or loses playoffs again this year based on what DEFENSE can or can’t do, right now any improvement’s on paper, NOT on the field yet.

  • Rossonero

    It’s an uphill battle given the stiff competition, but given his physical tools, he has a chance. If not the roster, then the practice squad at the least. From a physical standpoint, at 5’11” 196 lbs., there’s not much that differentiates him from others (unlike Ladarius Gunter). Manning will just have to turn heads in the secondary or on special teams.

  • Taryn Miller

    I’m not a dude and never did drugs or ever will but perhaps you need to stop so comments will cease to confound you. 🙂